A secret US embassy cable part of WikiLeaks “classified by Anne Patterson” reveals that the US said it was willing to work with Nawaz Sharif if he won the elections, but that Zardari was its “best ally in Pakistan right now.”
The cable said that US interests are best served by preventing another cycle of military rule and that:
“Militants will exploit either weak civilian government or a return to military rule that lacks popular legitimacy, so we should help the Zardari/Gilani government complete its full five-year term in office.”
The cable also said that US Vice President Joe Biden had noted that Pakistan’s ties with the US had been transactional in nature and were based on “mutual mistrust”. The cable quoted on The Guardian read:
“Pakistan hedges its bets on cooperation because it fears the US will again desert Islamabad after we get Osama Bin Laden; Washington sees this hesitancy as duplicity that requires we take unilateral action to protect US interests.
After 9/11, then President Musharraf made a strategic shift to abandon the Taliban and support the US in the war on terror, but neither side believes the other has lived up to expectations flowing from that decision. The relationship is one of co-dependency we grudgingly admit – Pakistan knows the US cannot afford to walk away; the US knows Pakistan cannot survive without our support.”